In Australia, doctors were baffled with an unnamed 8-year-old boy having a high concentration of the toxic metal lead in his blood for over 2 years. The latest report about the child's case revealed that the doctors found 57 lead pellets trapped inside the appendix.
An X-ray image showing metal objects inside the Aussie boy's abdomen. Photo Credit: The New England Journal of Medicine
"The CDC-defined lead poisoning threshold is 5 micrograms per deciliter, but this child was found to have up to 27.4," Web site TestCountry.com reports. Doctors initially could not trace where the high concentration comes from until the child was rushed to hospital due to stomachache.
In the published case report of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers revealed that the doctor's X-ray on the child exposed the round metal objects located at the lower right side of the Aussie boy's abdomen. Doctors conducted a bowel washout but when the metal objects remained intact in the second X-ray, the doctors already assumed that the objects are inside the boy's appendix.
The doctors had a surgical procedure on the young boy to take out the appendix and examine it. After cutting it open, 57 lead pellets were discovered trapped inside.
Doctors took out 57 lead pellets inside the Aussie child's appendix. Phot Credit: The New England Journal of Medicine
"It's one of those things you only see once in a life time. I've been in medicine for almost 40 years now and had never seen anything like this," Dr. Ibrahim Zardawi, the pathologist who examined the appendix, declared.
Lead is a heavy toxic metal used in manufacturing paint, batteries and plastics and the poisonous metal can be introduced in the body through ingestion or inhalation. Severe lead poisoning symptoms include seizures, mental disturbances, coma and eventually death.
"Consuming just one lead pellet could have been enough to make the child seriously ill," Dr. Zardawi explained. According to the boy's family, the metal objects inside the appendix could have come from the lead pellets used in hunting geese which they dine on after the kill.
Furthermore, the boy and his siblings confessed that they had been eating the pellets as well as part of a game they played in making the pellets disappear. The appendix can take in tiny objects like fruit seeds but the boy's doctors are still puzzled as to how the numerous lead pellets ended up trapped in the appendix.
"It is highly unlikely for external objects to end up in the appendix. Sometimes small fruit seeds such as tomato seeds may find a way through, but it's a puzzle as to how so many pellets entered and became stuck in the boy's appendix," Dr. Zardawi stated.
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